Monitoring bedload sediment transport in a pre-Alpine river: an experimental method

Monica Papini (1), Vladislav Ivov Ivanov (1), Davide Brambilla (1), Diego Arosio (2) & Laura Longoni (1)
(1) Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (DICA), Politecnico di Milano, 20133 Milano, Italy (2) Department of Chemical and Geological Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 41125 Modena, Italy. Corresponding author e-mail:

DOI:         Pages: 57-63


Sediment transport in Alpine and pre-Alpine zones is an essential part of the broad field encompassing hydro-geological instabilities, with particular significance during high intensity rainfall events. This study describes an experimental method for the characterization of the dynamics of this phenomenon at a small spatial and temporal resolution. A set of Radio Frequency IDentificator (RFID) equipped pebbles has been tracked for a period of 6 months and their propagation along the stream has been recorded after each rainfall event. A descriptive database has been devised in order to explore the mobility of the single grains with respect to their geometrical characteristics, their mass as well as the influence of the precipitation intensity on the monitored river reach. Preliminary results indicate the strong correlation of sediment mobility to river discharge and suggest the influence of initial position in terms of morphological characteristics on the sediment mobility.


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